Price: Reasonable


Core Cider House - Chilli Chocolate Macquis

Core Cider House – 28 Dec 2016

Just 30ish minutes from the city, there are various wineries dotted in the Perth hills region of Carmel, Pickering Brook and Bickley, a hidden gem of sorts, compared to the well known Swan Valley region. The drive here is like passing through the countryside, peaceful and tranquil. The walk to the cider house is picturesque, with a large grassed area to throw down a picnic blanket and sip on an alcoholic beverage or two while the kids run wild. There’s plenty of outdoor seating seating to enjoy your drinks from the bar, or you can venture upstairs to the semi open outdoor setting where there is lots to choose from on the menu which utilises the stone fruit grown on the premises or makes use of the ciders brewed on site.

I started off with the kangaroo carpaccio which was delicious. The dish is perfectly paired with sweet potato for a touch of sweetness, creaminess from the whipped feta, and crunch from the candied macadamias which also provide a different touch of sweetness. For mains I chose the seared duck breast which was perfectly cooked with just a tad amount of pink in the centre. The duck was enjoyed with some slightly sweet pickled red cabbage, but the sour apple reduction and grilled stone fruit helped balance each other out. For dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed the very generous slice of spiced apple pie. The spices employed lift the pie to a new level, particularly the addition of chilli for some bite. The ice cream is delicious and I did have a taste of the other desserts, a chilli chocolate marquis and a sour apple brûlée, which were both delicious.

The scenery is beautiful and relaxing, and the venue is just like that too. The weather was beautiful and the place was packed out (best to book). Despite that, the service was friendly and everyone was well looked after. Lots of people were enjoying the ciders brewed on site and also the food on offer. Core Cider House also runs a little farmers market on the weekend where fresh fruit, preserves, and ice cream are available. The venue also hosts tours, events (check out their New Years Eve offering), and is also the ideal venue for private functions or weddings.


Holmes and Co - Corn Fritter, Poached Egg

Holmes and Co – 23 Dec 2016

Located down the lane ways where Wolf Lane is close by, this casual cafe has plenty of seating outside which is perfect for enjoying the morning sun and breakfast. There’s lots to choose from, centring around poached eggs. I chose the Holmes Stack, comprising of a corn fritter, smashed avo, poached egg and a choice of bacon or smoked salmon (I chose smoked salmon). Once you cut into the poached egg it has a nice runny yolk. With the avocado, smoked salmon, dukkah, greens and a dash of hot sauce for some pep, this was a tasty breakfast. I also really enjoyed the chai latte which was delicious.


Moana Coffee - French Toast

Moana Coffee – 15 Dec 2016

Moana Coffee is a hidden cafe, a place I’ve walked past so many times I really think most of Perth does’t know it exists. Situated in the renovated Moana Chambers, from Hay St Mall, keep a look out for Britton’s Formal Hire, walkthrough and to the left and up the stairs or take the lift if you’re lazy. Sharing the space with an artist-run exhibition space, once you do a U turn after reaching the top of the stairs, you will discover this peaceful and tranquil balcony cafe.


Meat and Bun - Dark Knight and Smokey Fries

Meet and Bun – 14 Dec 2016

Situated in the food court on the lower level of Trinity Arcade, Meet and Bun serves fresh made burgers to order. I had read there is quite a queue for lunch so got there a little early and ordered the Dark Knight with Smokey Fries. I wasn’t too impressed that several people behind me had there names called out before mine to collect their orders at the counter. After eventually getting my order, I sat down to enjoy. I tucked into the fries first. They’re pretty good though need more seasoning and a little less paprika as it leaves a slightly raw taste. The dark knight is a burger with a charcoal bun encasing crispy fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and slaw. The succulent chicken breast is coated in a crunchy batter, the cheese is gooey, and there’s a slight salty tone thanks to the bacon. To add some freshness the slaw does the job. It’s a solid burger packed with ingredients, filling, lots to keep you interested, though it didn’t wow. Still, if you needed a burger then this is a good place to stop by.


Manise Cafe - Ayam Bakar Manise

Manise Cafe – 5 Dec 2016

Located at the far end of William Street in Northbridge, Manise Cafe has a home style feel, a warm welcoming environment with good honest Indonesian cuisine. The dishes don’t cost much but the serves are smaller as a result which means you can order more dishes and get a variety of flavours. I started with es cendol, the coconut milk and palm sugar syrup drink with pandan jelly which was pretty tasty and refreshing. Foodwise, we started with ayam baker manise which presented very tender chicken with slight crunch and a delicious sweet but muted sauce. This was really enjoyable. We also got kondro bakar kecap, the meat from the ribs was removed from the bone and are oh so tender and flavoursome. Yum! Can’t go past gado gado, the steamed vegetable dish topped with a creamy satay sauce. The delicious creamy peanut sauce certainly livens up the steamed veggies and is a popular Indonesian snack. Easy to see why. We also got ikar bakar manise, a whole fish containing tender flesh coated in a lovely marinade and enhanced by the refreshing tomato and onion mix. Enjoyed with steamed rice, you start to fill up with all the variety and the different flavours of the sweet soy sauce and sweet sambal mix.


Theo & Co - Built From Bones Dessert Pizza

Theo & Co Pizzeria – 1 Dec 2016

Theo Kalogeracos, the master pizza chef, has a new pizza store in East Vic Park, just opposite The Heart of The Park Shopping Center. The space is casual, the service friendly, and the pizzas are anything but ordinary. Dine in or takeaway, BYO, wait to be seated and then be confused as to what pizza to choose from the extensive menu. I was really keen on trying the skillet pizzas and opted for the pepperoni version. This deep dish beautie was amazing! Not at all soggy, soft fluffy base packed with Mozzarella cheese and delicious pepperoni. Yum yum yum! I also opted for one of their best sellers (which there are many) – Pork Belly on a pizza? Crazy, no genius! Marinated with deliciousness, fennel, garlic, and the creamy dijonaise is a masterstroke. Full of flavour and so enjoyable. Some bits have a slight crunch from the crackling. They have boxes where the cutlery and serviettes are to take the leftovers away which means room for dessert. I’ve eaten several dessert pizzas from different restaurants which have generally been poor. Here, there’s several to choose from and the Built From Bones looked appealing. A deconstructed cannoli – ricotta base with chocolatey drops and broken cannoli shells for crunch, it’s unusual, different but an excellent dessert pizza nonetheless. Really full but very satisfied. The pizzas here are a very different style but are inventive, creative, and the flavour combinations are on the money.


Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar - Wok Tossed King Prawns & Mussels

Melbourne: Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar – 12 Nov 2016

For my second night in Melbourne, one of my ex-colleagues recommended a visit to Lucy Liu’s which is an Asian fusion type restaurant. Located down Oliver Lane, the place is packed but I manage to score a table and are seated at one of the high benches overlooking the restaurant. There are hooks underneath the bench, perfect for hanging my bags after a day of shopping. The interior is very chic, covered in criss cross wood formations, yet there is plenty of buzz and is another venue with lots of atmosphere. Turn over the placemat to reveal the menu, there’s plenty to choose from and I seek the guidance of the waitstaff.

I start with a fresh betel leaf. Yummy and hands on way to roll up the betel leaf and consume the lovely tuna and roe. It’s light and refreshing and the perfect start to the meal. I’m a real fan of bao so the crispy pork bun was an easy choice. The soft bun encases crispy pork and contains a lovely sauce to amplify the flavour. The crunch of the pork is distinctive, although a little chewy at times, contrasting against the soft bao which melts in your mouth. Enhanced with some lovely Asian ingredients and the kewpie mayo, each bite is delicious.

For something more substantial, I opted for the wok tossed king prawns and mussels. I didn’t expect to get such a large hearty bowl though. t love the delicious flavoursome XO influenced broth, the succulent mussels, juicy prawns, crispy prawn heads, and the minced beef. The Chinese doughnuts are a distinctive food item throughout many parts of Asia and are perfect for sopping up broth as is the case here. Once soaked, the doughnut takes on the flavour of the broth which is simply yum. So full, I continue walking around Melbourne to walk off my full belly.


Gazi Restaurant - Loukoumades

Melbourne: Gazi Restaurant – 11 Nov 2016

One of my ex-work colleagues told me about this place so upon landing, my first point of call is a visit to George Calombaris’s Gazi Restaurant. Seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen, it was interesting watching the kitchen in operation. There are hooks underneath the bench to hang your jacket or bags which is perfect as it’s a bit cold outside but the heat of the kitchen warms everyone up. The atmosphere is buzzing, plenty of people crammed in but with sufficient space to enjoy conversation and waitstaff rush around to cater for the hungry hords. Despite that, there is no compromise on the excellent service provided throughout the night. There’s plenty of choice from the menu which makes it hard to decide. I asked the waitstaff for some recommendations and chose a number of dishes, though, with the rotisserie in front of me, I rather fancied some dish that incorporated some of those delicious meats. I heard there is the option for takeaway but I’m here in Melbourne for the weekend.

I started with the miso eggplant dip which presents super smooth eggplant dip evoking a strong but well controlled eggplant flavour that is just delightful. Dipping the warm soft puffy Pita into the dip is a delicious and an enjoyable experience.

Next I went with the saganaki cheese – I love cheese so was interested to see what this dish would serve up. Melted cheese on a sizzling hot plate with a golden brown crust and a cumquat citrus sauce. The citrus seems unusual at first, a sweet sensation but it balances against the richness of the cheese, particularly the slight touch of acidity. Yum!!!

I had to grab a mini souvlaki, or souvalkia and opted for the duck version. There’s lots of succulent juicy duck with an Asian inspired fusion. The duck is delicious, though a tad oversalted. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the dish, the soft Pita and the ingredients it held. I think the Hoison is overshadowed by the mayo to an extent.

Finally, I had to squeeze in dessert and chose loukoumades, Greek doughnuts. Oh wow! What a finish to the meal. Crunchy on the outside, soft and spongy on the inside. Drizzled with honey for sweetness with a touch of nutella to add a chocolate hint, these are to be savoured. I also like the strong Greek coffee flavoured ice cream. Wouldn’t mind more of that. Really full, glad to have some variety and really enjoyed the flavours and experience of this venue. So typically Melbourne, nothing that Perth offers comes close.


Copper Chimney - Mixed Platter

Copper Chimney – 6 Nov 2016

I’d heard from people Copper Chimney was an excellent Indian restaurant so I finally made a visit. It’s a casual open space tastefully decorated to reflect the Indian culture. There’s heaps of choice on the menu, including the specials, so you’re spoilt for choice. We got a mixed platter to start which proved to be quite filling but offering lots of variety and tasty treats. The tandoor imparted flavour is evident in the tandoori chicken and bharah kebab. The samosa is delicious, as too, the paneer and mint chutney to pour over the salad. They also offer 3 thalis, we got the meat version and I had a taste of some of the items which were pretty good. We shared other dishes like the masala dosa, a huge thin crispy pancake encasing a delicious spiced potato mix. Plenty of extra dosa to dip into the tasty curries and condiments. We also got the kangaroo vindaloo which packed some bite, was reasonably tender and the curry flavour hid the gaminess to quite an extent. Certainly not chilli hot but the heat built and was hot but bearable. Pretty stuffed with all the food, we shared a dessert. I had a small taste of the pistachio kulfi, the Indian ice cream was tasty. I also popped across the road to grab some cannoli at Patisserie La Vaspa, given my sweet tooth, and enjoyed this as a very late afternoon snack. I also got some biriyani to takeaway and ate that for lunch the following day. Flavoursome and packed full of chunks of goat. The service, flavours, venue, and menu choice is excellent and certainly a solid choice for Indian fare if you live around Freo.


Meat Candy - Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich

Meat Candy – 2 Nov 2016

I’d heard about this place, in particular, the fried chicken. With staff ties to The Old Crow, I was keen to see what interesting fare would be served up. I’m really glad the sun has emerged and the light is longer. This makes it perfect for going to dinner and grabbing a table outside. I chose one of the starters – smoked brisket chimichangas and salsa. What a delicious dish! Crunch from the crispy tortilla, tasty beef brisket, lovely salsa, but that refried bean paste, what flavour! There’s also a slight acidity from a squeeze of lime juice which ties everything together. So delicious. For my mains it’s hard to go past their specialty – fried chicken. Available in southern, medium or hot, I chose the southern. The chicken is available as a quarter ($15) or a half ($30), I chose the quarter. OMG! Wow! So delicious. Ultra crunchy batter with a most delicious southern style spice mix encasing succulent chicken served atop a slice of bread. I love the spicy kimchi sauce and blue cheese sauce. The pickles cut through the deep fried chicken and the bread soaks up more of that spice. You need to dive in with hands and clean that chicken off the bone. Finger lickin good!